“A miniature castle on the beach” has just been listed at an emblematic address in Middle Park


There is no doubt that Marty and Charlotte Fox have a soft spot for period homes, especially Victorian homes. Maybe it is the romantic story, the strong bones, the high ceilings, or the beautiful period details that they just can’t resist.

The No. 283 Beaconsfield Parade was meant to be their “forever home”, but the demands of a young family put the brakes on the action and suddenly they got in motion.

The striking frontage of 283 Beaconsfield Parade, Middle Park. Photo: Whitefox.

It’s always interesting to see where the people in the real estate industry choose to live. Marty Fox, director of Whitefox Real Estate, and his wife Charlotte fell in love with this Middle Park beauty as soon as they saw her.

Once they got up to the first floor, walked up to the seaside balcony and saw the view of the bay – St Kilda Pier, the breakwater and the iconic row of palm trees – they were blown away.

This house is an exception – it is one of the few freestanding Italian style Victorian houses on Melbourne’s iconic waterfront boulevard.

The couple bought the 1880s house, which had been in the same family for generations, off the market and decided to give it back to its former glory.

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The elegant living room at the front of the house. Photo: Whitefox.

“We wanted to restore it, not just renovate it,” says Marty, who describes himself as a “serial property pinball machine” on his Instagram.

The couple have already tackled nine period homes, mostly Victorian. They manage the projects themselves, hire skilled craftsmen and have benefited from the help of the Made For design studio.

But they hadn’t taken into account the challenges of renovating during a pandemic, when sourcing everything was twice as difficult.

Charlotte, who also works with the Whitefox agency, has an eye for detail and wanted to make sure only the best is used.

“My hobby is vintage lamps and I’ve been a little crazy looking for them,” she says. In the end, she bought 10 lights – including Murano and JT Kalmar – in Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium.

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The superb kitchen with bench seating for breakfast. Photo: Whitefox.

They also decided to stay in the building’s original footprint.

“We didn’t want to add a black box on the back,” says Marty. “We didn’t want the new architecture to triumph over the existing architecture.

The house has been gutted, rewired, re-flooring and modern luxuries added, resulting in a Victorian home that feels both classic and contemporary.

Downstairs, the light-flooded living room connects to the dining room. Here are two of the five original fireplaces in working order. Charlotte lights are the perfect finishing touch to decorative ceilings.

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The large master bedroom. Photo: Whitefox.

A linen cupboard has been skillfully transformed into a 137-bottle wine cellar.

The family room is bright and relaxed and the separate kitchen is contemporary in crisp white with Vagli marble. There’s a low-maintenance patio and garden to the rear, as well as a gym tucked away in the garage – a lifeline during lockdown, Marty says.

Upstairs, the master bedroom opens to the front balcony with these incredible views. When the kids, Freddy, 4, and Olive, 2, are finally in bed, this is where the couple love to relax and enjoy the sunset.

A bedroom next door has been transformed into a dressing room and bathroom with a view. “I can check the weather forecast while I wash my hair,” says Marty.

283 Parade Beaconsfield, Middle Park VIC 3206

283 Parade Beaconsfield, Middle Park VIC 3206

The children’s area has two spacious bedrooms that share a bathroom with an original stained glass window.

And what did the couple learn from this renovation? “Always buy Victorian – it’s the only architecture that makes you feel special.”

Peter Zervas, the agent handling the sale, is eager to see who takes home this trophy.

“It’s a miniature castle on the beach,” he says.


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